THE CARDINAL'S STORY (The Life and Work of Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty) by Stephen K. Swift

THE CARDINAL'S STORY (The Life and Work of Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty)

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Purportedly the biography of a religious leader, this book is primarily concerned with the issue presented by the rise to power of a militant communism. While a brief account is given of the earlier life and work of Cardinal Mindszenty, the major part of the book is devoted to a detailed description of the events leading up to the Hungarian pre-late's arrest, of his treatment while in prison and of his trial and conviction. The events in Hungary which precipitated the arrest of the Cardinal, and the nature of his trial are matters of record with which the western world is quite familiar. While there has been much speculation concerning the treatment which must have been accorded to this religious leader to transform him from a man of strength of conviction and iron will into the abject submissive figure presented at the trial, until now this has been mere speculation. But in this volume an account is given of the entire procedure which reads like the account of an eye-witness. The line of questioning followed and the Cardinal's responses are given in detail. The means used to break the body, mind and spirit of the prisoner are described in such a vivid manner that one must conclude that the author must have had sources of information that have not been available to the other writers who have dealt with the Mindszenty case. It is intimated that some of the guards who were present at the inquisition later escaped, and that from their accounts of what happened and from general knowledge of communist procedure this story is pieced together. The author's contention is that the breaking of the Cardinal was brought about by 84 hours of continuous questioning and by the use of drugs. This is by far the most interesting part of the book, but in a controversial matter such as this one wishes that the author had been more explicit as to the sources of his information. Communist sympathizers will brand it as a tissue of lies, and readers who are disposed to accept the author's version ought to have more evidence of the reliability of this account. The book really gives us a clearer picture of communist mentality than of Cardinal Mindszenty's personality. It should be read by all who wish to understand the basic issues involved in the struggle against communism in Europe, and here for that matter.

Pub Date: Nov. 7th, 1949
ISBN: 1164505017
Publisher: Macmillan